BC Allows Crowdfunding

British Columbia, along with 5 other Canadian provinces, recently joined Saskatchewan in allowing Equity Crowdfunding. Reportedly, startups will be permitted to raise up-to $250,000 per offering, twice a year. (Source)
Crowdfunding
There are two types of crowdfunding according to Forbes contributor and CEO of Crowdfunding, Chance Barnett – 1) Investment Crowdfunding – where startups “sell ownership stakes online in the form of equity or debt” and give investors the opportunity to gain returns on their investment and 2) Donation-Based Funding – “where funders donate via a collaborative goal based process” and are given ‘products, rewards or perks’ not financial returns. (Source)

“Quite simply,” says International Market Access, Inc.’s President and CEO, Jim Pettinger, “crowd funding allows individuals and small companies to raise venture funds via the internet without the burden of typical fundraising compliance issues.”
BC, along with the other participating provinces including Saskatchewan, will be governed by new harmonized rules.

Trade Tips Blog is published by International Market Access, (IMA) Inc.

International Market Access, Inc.
“USA Business Services for Canadian Importers/Exporters”
(Freight Management, Warehousing, Fulfillment, Returns/Repairs)
Website: www.UCanTrade.com
Phone: 360-380-6900
Email: ima@UCanTrade.com
Twitter: @UCanTrade


Export Tips to E-Commerce Success

By: IMA Staff

Are you considering selling online to the USA or another foreign market?  To be profitable and have e-commerce success, consider the following trade tips:

One-of-a-Kind?  Consumers, particularly Americans, are very receptive to buying Canadian made goods. However, ‘standing out among the crowd’ is critical to online sales success. Choices abound, so target a niche market with a proven product and you’ll be more likely to succeed.

Seattle Vancouver Container Shipment Processing

Order Fulfillment?  Consider your supply chain. If you receive a whole bunch of small orders all at once, do you have enough product on-hand to fill, box-up and ship in small quantities to hundreds of customers, across the lower 48 states, by tomorrow (!)?  Partnering with a reliable order fulfillment, Pick-N-Pack service provider, like IMA, enables you to reliably meet the demands of your online customers.

Proper Pricing?  Do your prices support ALL your costs associated with online sales into a foreign country?  There are the obvious costs like cost-of-goods, storage, packaging, handling, and shipping but what about import customs fees, foreign label requirements or other unknown fees?  Plan, plan, plan so you can price for profit.

Compliant?  The US, like other foreign countries, has their own set of Government mandated import rules and regulations.  These regulations are enforced by customs officers at the country’s port of entry.  The officers require proof of compliance (generally in the form of documentation)  before they allow any product into their country. From the ink in your give-away pens to the chicken flavoring in your organic pet treats, they want to know the ‘who, what and where’ of your item to make sure it’s permissible.  Customs compliance and clearance can be easily addressed and overcome with professional assistance and proper planning. It is a critical factor in determining your export e-commerce success.

US Dollars?  When you sell into a foreign market, especially in the USA, consider the value of the local currency as it relates to your own.  For example, Canadians selling in the USA can make 20% extra on their US sales simply because the US dollar has a higher value relative to ‘the Loonie’ (Ref. Why US Sales Are A No Brainer).  Also, facilitating your buyers by enabling them to buy with their own money is very appealing and exhibits great customer service.

Expanding your business to include (online) sales into a foreign market, particularly for Canadians selling to the USA, can be a very lucrative and worthwhile endeavor (Ref. Micro-Multinationals – Small Business Can Export Too).  With proper planning and reliable professional partners you most certainly can enjoy profitable e-commerce success through export.

Additional Resource Information HERE

Trade Tips Blog is published by International Market Access, Inc.

International Market Access, Inc.
“USA Business Services for Canadian Importers/Exporters”
(Freight Management, Warehousing, Fulfillment, Returns/Repairs)
Website: www.UCanTrade.com
Phone: 360-380-6900
Email: ima@UCanTrade.com
Twitter: @UCanTrade


Comment: What a difference 50 miles (Or 80 Kilometres) can make!

By:  Jim Pettinger

According to a recent article in Business in Vancouver magazine, “big money is flocking to Vancouver real estate and fuelling huge price increases that show no sign of stopping”.

Meanwhile, just 50 miles (or 80 kilometres) to the South, comparable commercial and residential real estate is available for a relatively small fraction of the cost (including the exchange rate).

While not for everyone, many savvy investors are researching opportunities in Whatcom County for commercial, retail, industrial, residential, vacation and investment properties.

Besides cost, other advantages include proximity to the BC Lower Mainland, and possible financing arrangements with local banks that provide low-cost and long-term fixed rates.

At the recent “Doing Business in the USA” seminar, the following Whatcom County organizations provided an overview: Sterling Real Estate (Bellingham) and Banner Bank (Blaine/Ferndale/Bellingham).

Trade Tips Blog is published by International Market Access, Inc.

International Market Access, Inc.
USA Business Identity, Warehousing and Fulfillment Services
Website: UCanTrade.com
Phone: 360-380-6900
Email: ima@ucantrade.com
Twitter: @UCanTrade


Selling Into The USA – Easier Than You Think

By: Jim Pettinger

Have you considered the potential benefits of exporting your company’s products into the United States? If not, you may be neglecting the largest, richest and most responsive market in the world – a market that lies right at British Columbia’s doorstep.  Export from Canada

Unfortunately, many Canadian small business owners and entrepreneurs are either confused or intimidated when they hear the words “export” or “international trade.” But with the right planning, small business owners in Canada can and should approach the U.S. like an extension of the Canadian market.  Once you have developed some basic procedures for dealing with the international boundary, exporting to the U.S. can be both easy and lucrative.

A Huge and Receptive Market

The United States is a huge market of more than 300 million consumers who welcome foreign products. What’s more, the U.S. government is very cooperative when it comes to helping Canadian businesses get a foothold in U.S. markets.

As a Canadian business owner, you can readily obtain a B-1 visa that will enable you to travel within the U.S. for marketing and other business purposes for up to six months. And once you’ve gone through the appropriate security procedures (like basic fingerprinting and photographing), you can have access to fast-track border crossings unavailable to most other visitors.

The Canadian government has also instituted programs to help facilitate business across our southern border. In addition, Canadian businesses are generally well-respected in the U.S. and considered to be trustworthy. Canadian goods and services are often perceived to be of high quality and a “cut above” by U.S. customers.

Secret to Success: Think Domestic

The secret to successfully exporting your products or services to the U.S. is to “think domestic” by establishing a presence for your business in the United States. This doesn’t necessarily have to be a physical presence – you just need for your U.S. customers to perceive that your business has a presence south of the border.

In other words, you should organize all the logistics of your business so that American customers do not believe they will have any additional concerns in dealing with a Canadian firm. For example, they need to know that they can deal in U.S. dollars and have their products shipped from or returned to a U.S. address. All of your communications, logistics and other activities should be handled from a real or virtual U.S. branch office or warehouse.

Regardless of whether your U.S. branch or warehouse is real or virtual, having a U.S. presence will pay big dividends in cost savings, response time and control. You can plan ahead to anticipate storage of trade show booths and the purchase of collateral materials in the U.S., as well as for returns and repairs. And you can avoid headaches by shipping your products, literature and other material directly through your nearest U.S. port of entry.

It’s also crucial that you get to know the U.S. marketplace first-hand. Many Canadians think they know everything about the U.S. through what they see and hear in the media, but you can’t just start advertising to Americans from your Canadian base and expect immediate success. You need to spend some time with your “boots on the ground” conducting first-person research in potential new market areas in the U.S.

Also, remember that the United States is a huge market, so you must focus your limited resources. Most Canadian success stories in the U.S. result from niche, rather than broad, marketing efforts. Your company’s specific niche market in the U.S. consists only of those prospects you can reasonably afford to reach.

Interested in Doing Business in the USA?  

Learn from cross-border trade experts at the ‘Doing Business in the USA’ Cross-Border Seminar and Professional Briefing, how to remove border barriers, take advantage of the exchange rate and earn up to 20% extra on your US sales.  Key topics include US Sales & Distribution Strategies, US Customs & NAFTA Guidelines, US Business Travel / Immigration, Canadian Government Programs/Services and much more.  The next cross-border seminar will be May 7, 2015 in Delta, BC.  Registration and seminar details HERE.

Trade Tips Blog is published by International Market Access, Inc.

International Market Access, Inc.
“USA Business Services for Canadian Importers/Exporters”
(Freight Management, Warehousing, Fulfillment, Returns/Repairs)

Website: www.UCanTrade.com
Phone: 360-380-6900
Email: ima@UCanTrade.com
Twitter: @UCanTrade


Americans Are Spending. Canadians – Act Now!

By: IMA Staff

Export Development Canada (EDC)’s Chief Economist, Peter Hall said in a recent EDC press release that the US Economic Growth is ‘spilling over’ into the global economy and combined with US industrial capacity constraints and the ‘Low-Loonie,’ among other variables, the EDC forecasts Canadian exports will grow 8 per cent by 2016.

“With the current economic conditions, the dollar … The time is now,” affirmed Google Canada’s country director Sam Sebastian, encouraging Canadian SMBs to seize their (online) export opportunities.  Google has reportedly partnered with the EDC to provide Canadians an online tool that will provide a “graphic and data-heavy picture of Canada’s key export markets.”  This will aid SMBs to better target potential international markets during key times such as Black Friday and Cyber Monday during the USA’s Thanksgiving holiday.

Unfortunately, Todd Winterhalt, EDC’s vice-president of international business development says, “with only 4 per cent of Canadian businesses exporting … [and] 60 per cent of Canada’s GDP dependent on trade … it’s a conversation that needs more attention.” Hall adds, “If ever there was a time for businesses, whether small, medium or large, to start exporting to the U.S., it’s now.” (Ref. Why US Sales Are a ‘No-Brainer’)
PiggyBank3

On May 7th, 2015, International Market Access (IMA), Inc., and its “Doing Business in the USA” partners, will present a full day cross-border seminar and professional briefing in Delta, BC, to educate Canadian business owners and professionals how to remove border barriers, take advantage of the exchange rate and earn 20% extra on US sales.  Key Topics:  US Sales & Distribution, US Customs Guidelines, US Business Travel / Immigration and more.

Trade Tips Blog is published by International Market Access, Inc.

International Market Access, Inc.
“USA Business Services for Canadian Importers/Exporters”
(Freight Management, Warehousing, Fulfillment, Returns/Repairs)

Website: www.UCanTrade.com
Phone: 360-380-6900
Email: ima@UCanTrade.com
Twitter: @UCanTrade



(Sources: “Google looks to boost worldwide reach of Canadian SMBs” ;  EDC: U.S. industrial capacity constraints will fuel Canadian export growth in 2015)

2015 British Columbia Holidays

By: IMA Staff

Northwest Washington businesses can expect greater numbers of Canadian customers to visit on British Columbia holiday weekends.
Cross-Border

Cross-border travelers increase along the Pacific Corridor during holiday weekends.

2015 BC Statutory Holidays (PDF)
January 01, Thursday  – New Year’s Day
February 09, Monday – Family Day
April 03, Friday – Good Friday
April 06, Monday – Easter Monday*
May 18, Monday – Victoria Day
July 01, Wednesday – Canada Day
August 03, Monday – British Columbia Day (Civic Holiday)
September 07, Monday – Labour Day
October 12, Monday – Thanksgiving Day
November 11, Wednesday – Remembrance Day
December 25, Friday – Christmas Day
December 26, Saturday – Boxing Day*
*These are not statutory holidays in BC, but many BC businesses are closed.

Trade Tips Blog is published by International Market Access, Inc.

International Market Access, Inc.
“USA Business Services for Canadian Importers/Exporters”
(Freight Management, Warehousing, Fulfillment, Returns/Repairs)
Website: UCanTrade.com
Phone: 360-380-6900
Email: ima@UCanTrade.com


Packaging – Not Just Impacting Retailers’ Shipping Costs

BY: IMA Staff

With e-commerce on the rise, it’s worthwhile to examine the critical role packaging plays in order fulfillment, a consumer’s satisfaction and how it can influence their willingness to re-purchase or refer your good/service.
Reverse Logistics, Packaging
According to a 2014 online poll ‘Packaging for E-Commerce Success survey’ (conducted by Harris Poll), “58 percent of consumers say that if they receive a damaged or broken product from an online order, they would either consider purchasing from a competitor or would not purchase from that retailer again.” Not only is quality packaging important to protect the goods, it’s important to protect your reputation! (Source)

The survey also indicated packaging is perceived by consumers – particularly those between 18 – 35 years old, as a reflection of the quality of your goods. In other words, better packaging means a better product.

Another important consumer expectation e-commerce retailers really need to know to be successful is that consumers expect an order to be packaged and shipped within 24 hours or less after placing their online order.
Order Fulfillment
At International Market Access (IMA), Inc., we work closely with our clients to fulfill their customer’s orders accurately and quickly. However, we’ve seen first-hand, in the form of returns and repairs, when retailer packaging falls short.

Peering at packaging through an ‘e-commerce lens’, it becomes evident, proper packaging doesn’t just impact a retailers’ shipping cost. Clearly good packaging choices play a huge role in avoiding returns, guaranteeing good customer service and ensuring an overall positive experience that will keep consumers coming back again and again.

Trade Tips Blog is published by International Market Access, Inc.

International Market Access, Inc.
“USA Business Services for Canadian Importers/Exporters”
(Freight Management, Warehousing, Fulfillment, Returns/Repairs)
Website: UCanTrade.com
Phone: 360-380-6900
Email: ima@UCanTrade.com


Micro-Multinationals – Small Businesses Can Export Too!

With the help of technology, small and mid-sized business owners, whose companies are dubbed ‘Micro-Multinationals’, are seizing the opportunity to export their goods and services internationally using e-commerce sites and trade partners.

Even with rising shipping costs (Ref. Dimensional Shipping Weight), the Globe and Mail reported Canadian small businesses are still seeing significant revenue increases by selling into foreign markets. Reportedly, an Ontario specialty retailer saw a 500% sales increase in just one year when he started shipping internationally and setting his prices in US dollars (Source).

Canadian export into the US is particularly timely (Ref. Why US Sales Are a ‘No-Brainer’) given the present strength of the US dollar. Quite simply, a sale made in Canada is valued easily 15% less than if the same sale were made in the US. Preparedness, establishing a US Business Identity and partnering with experienced trade service providers is an important part of having success as a ‘micro-multinational’. Export from Canada

On May 7th, 2015, International Market Access (IMA), Inc., and its “Doing Business in the USA” partners, will present a full day seminar and professional briefing in Delta, BC, to educate those interested in learning the basics of cross border trade and establishing a Canadian business across the border in the USA.

Trade Tips Blog is published by International Market Access, Inc.

International Market Access, Inc.
“USA Business Services for Canadian Importers/Exporters”
(Freight Management, Warehousing, Fulfillment, Returns/Repairs)
Website: www.UCanTrade.com
Phone: 360-380-6900
Email: ima@UCanTrade.com


Why US Sales Are A ‘No-Brainer’

dbusaLogo2_web

For Canadian exporters, perhaps more than ever before, NOW is the best time to sell in the USA. According to International Market Access (IMA), Inc.’s president, Jim Pettinger, “It’s a no-brainer.”

Why? Simple.  The US dollar is worth more than the Canadian dollar. If you sell your good or service in the US, it’ll earn you an easy 15% more just because it’s in US funds.

Additionally, eliminating cross-border issues by using US based distribution warehouses and ‘Pick-N-Pack’ order fulfillment centers, like IMA, Canadian exporters not only save exponentially on shipping & handling charges but they instill a US consumer confidence by presenting as a US based business.

Further dollars are saved by reducing cross-border freight movements, and having fewer currency conversions. A hassle-free reverse logistics (returns/repairs) partner means no customs declarations are needed.

On May 7th, a group of veteran Canada/USA and International trade experts will provide practical guidelines to British Columbia entrepreneurs and professionals at a one-day seminar in Delta, BC entitled ‘Doing Business in the USA‘. This comprehensive seminar is designed to give Canadian manufacturers, importers/exporters, distributors, and other business professionals the tools they need to easily expand their business across the border.

Please contact Carol Jackson at 1.800.799.8848 or visit UCanTrade.com for more information.  Register for the seminar HERE.

The ‘Doing Business in the USA’ seminar is sponsored by Cascadia Cross-Border Law, Moss Adams LLP, Law Office of Gene Moses, International Market Access, Inc., Pacific Customs Brokers, Inc., Wells Fargo (Bellingham) Sterling Real Estate Group, Gilmour Knotts Inc., and HUB International.

Trade Tips Blog is published by International Market Access, Inc.

International Market Access, Inc.
“USA Business Services for Canadian Importers/Exporters”
(Freight Management, Warehousing, Fulfillment, Returns/Repairs)
Website: www.UCanTrade.com
Phone: 360-380-6900
Email: ima@UCanTrade.com


UPS/FED EX’s Switch from Actual Weight to Dimensional Weight Hits Small Business’ Bottom Line

In 2015, carriers like UPS and FED EX have made the switch away from charging for a package’s actual shipping weight to charging for its dimensional shipping weight. International Market Access (IMA), Inc.’s Operations Manager, Terry Dickey explains people are often surprised at the significant increase in cost because they are unaware of these dimensional weight charges.

Dimensional weight charges are calculated by multiplying a package’s length by its height and width then dividing it by 166. According to Endicia, a woman’s purse measuring 19x15x5 actually weighs just 2 pounds but its dimensional weight is 9 pounds. This is an average rate increase of 28%!

In some cases just simply reducing a box’s length by a few inches can have a big impact on overall shipping & handling costs. Choosing the right shipping logistics partner is critical to having a cost-effective shipping strategy. Dickey works closely with IMA clients helping them choose which package size and what dimensions are most affordable to match their needs.

IMA Operation Manager, Terry Dickey, handling costly odd-length package.

IMA Operations Manager, Terry Dickey, handling costly odd-length packages.

International Market Access, Inc.’s 20,000 sqft. warehouse is located 10 minutes south of Blaine, WA along the I-5 corridor. Specializing in Canada USA cross-border order fulfillment and logistics since 1997, our experience, professionalism and 99.8% shipping accuracy rate make us the perfect shipping partner for Canadian exporters.

Please call us at 1-360-380-6900, visit our website at UCanTrade.com or meet us at our next upcoming seminar.

Trade Tips Blog is published by International Market Access, Inc.

International Market Access, Inc.
USA Business Services for Canadian Importers/Exporters”
(Freight Management, Warehousing, Fulfillment, Returns/Repairs)
Website: UCanTrade.com
Phone: 360-380-6900
Email: imawa@ucantrade.com